I believe it would be fair to say that the natural man has a proclivity to believing that there is a GOD. This is not in itself a spiritual endeavor but rather a logical deduction which is intuitive, just as one observes the sky above one’s head and the earth beneath one’s feet. In fact David recognized this when he said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psa 14:1)
Out of this intuitive observation arises man’s inclination towards religion which is found in every culture in one form or another. Again this is not a “spiritual” endeavor, per se, but rather a natural reaction to a natural observation. We see it first manifested in Cain who decided to offer the fruit of his labor to GOD. He assumed he could worship GOD according to a manner and method which seemed right in his own eyes and that GOD would be beholden to receive what he offered.
Because of the innate propensity of men in the flesh to satisfy themselves, there naturally arises many and varied religions which are shaped by cultural influences and largely become matters of convenience and cultural acceptability. Solomon told us about them in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Isaiah commented upon the pride which accompanies such religion, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isa 5:21)
So we are not at all surprised when men will defend their various religions, (sometimes even with carnal warfare) and seek to have them established by governmental decrees, creeds, confessions of faith, orthodoxies (which they define) of one type or another, or by hierarchies and elevations of men above others in various offices and chief seats.
Paul came to the proper conclusion about all religion and its value when he wrote to the Philippians. “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Php 3:4-8)
There has, in times past, only ever been one carnal “religion” upon which the LORD put HIS stamp of approval; which was the religion of the Jews. We see the LORD mention this when HE spoke to the woman at the well in Samaria. “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)
Now if Paul, speaking of this “religion” (of which he was steeped as a youth), counts it as “dung”, then where do the other “religions” of men stand. The Jew’s “religion” was merely temporarily established by the LORD in order to set the stage for the bringing in of that which is perfect. All that had to do with Israel after the flesh, was given in order to illustrate and prepare the way of the ONE who was to come, as the SAVIOR of that true Israel which is not descended from Abraham after the flesh, but from every tribe, kindred and tongue upon the earth, yea even as many as the LORD our GOD shall call. (see Acts 2:39)
They have one ORTHODOXY, one HEAD, and one CONFESSION. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.’ (Col 3:11)
The natural man (as he is descended from Adam) can learn the doctrines of CHRIST’s gospel. He can adopt a moral code which is congruent with those teachings. He can compass land and sea, making many sacrifices, in order to gain converts and make disciples. He can in outward fashion seem to be quite conformed to those things which are taught in the scriptures, being baptized in water, taking the elements of communion, and giving of his time, talents, and money. He can study the bible, pray, and even participate in what men would call “worship”.
Yet there is one thing, that the natural “religious man”, can never do. Unless a man is born again (born from above) he can never see the “glory” that is in CHRIST. This is that which the Psalmist speaks of when he says, “for HIS NAME alone is EXCELLENT”. HE becomes, to those who have been awakened by the SPIRIT of GOD, not just the “subject” of praise, (as we see repeated over and over in many and varied “praise songs” led by talented “worship leaders”) but the ONE “OBJECT” of praise. HIS name is not just one which is mindlessly repeated over and over until the participants are in a trance, rather HE is that ONE who is PRECIOUS, giving life its true meaning and standing as the ROCK upon which all hope is built..
This is the very essence of the revelation of GOD’s purpose in the earth to glorify HIS NAME. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:9-11)
These are not just a few “bible verses” that even a young child can memorize. Rather this is the very “desire” of that “nation” (or people) whose GOD is the LORD. HE is the heart and soul of those who rejoice daily in HIS PERSON and have no confidence in their flesh. There is nothing in this world that can enhance their regard for HIS glory nor can they be deterred from a worship of HIM in SPIRIT and TRUTH. “Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.” (Psa 113:1-4)
“HIS NAME alone is EXCELLENT”. The NAME of the true and living GOD is not just a matter of a few syllables which a man might learn by rote. Rather HIS NAME is the seat and basis of HIS power and authority. To pray in JESUS’ name is not just a phrase which is habitually added to the end of one’s petitions. It is to rejoice that “all power in heaven and earth” is HIS.
“HIS NAME alone is EXCELLENT.” Regardless of the desire of men to be “politically correct” or to avoid offense. Offenses must come as the TRUTH is declared, for no other NAME is worthy to be mentioned in terms of worship. Away with all other “names”, HE alone is worthy to be praised. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psa 115:2-3)
“HIS NAME alone is EXCELLENT.” We do rejoice in that NAME which is above all names. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom 11:34) HE has revealed HIMSELF in the display of HIS mercy unto those whom HE loves. “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psa 36:7) “There came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2Pet 1:17) May HIS NAME endure forever and the glory of HIS redemption be declared in the earth.mam